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Biotechnology - Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Pharmacology - Surgery

Cold Storage of Rat Hepatocyte Suspensions for One Week in a Customized Cold Storage Solution – Preservation of Cell Attachment and Metabolism
Published: Monday, July 09, 2012
Author: Gesine Pless-Petig et al.

by Gesine Pless-Petig, Bernhard B. Singer, Ursula Rauen

Background & Aims

Primary hepatocytes are of great importance for basic research as well as cell transplantation. However, their stability, especially in suspension, is very low. This feature severely compromises storage and shipment. Based on previous studies with adherent cells, we here assessed cold storage injury in rat hepatocyte suspensions and aimed to find a cold storage solution that preserves viability, attachment ability and functionality of these cells.


Rat hepatocyte suspensions were stored in cell culture medium, organ preservation solutions and modified TiProtec solutions at 4°C for one week. Viability and cell volume were determined by flow cytometry. Thereafter, cells were seeded and density and metabolic capacity (reductive metabolism, forskolin-induced glucose release, urea production) of adherent cells were assessed.


Cold storage injury in hepatocyte suspensions became evident as cell death occurring during cold storage or rewarming or as loss of attachment ability. Cell death during cold storage was not dependent on cell swelling and was almost completely inhibited in the presence of glycine and L-alanine. Cell attachment could be greatly improved by use of chloride-poor solutions and addition of iron chelators. Using a chloride-poor, potassium-rich storage solution containing glycine, alanine and iron chelators, cultures with 75% of the density of control cultures and with practically normal cell metabolism could be obtained after one week of cold storage.


In the solution presented here, cold storage injury of hepatocyte suspensions, differing from that of adherent hepatocytes, was effectively inhibited. The components which acted on the different injurious processes were identified.